Terrorism continues to pose a big threat in EU nations, Europol has warned in an official report which revealed the continent faced more than 200 terror attacks last year as the number of Islamist plots more than doubled.
“In 2017, 68 innocent victims lost their lives as a result of terrorist attacks in the European Union (EU),” the agency said in a press release, noting: “Even though the number of casualties decreased last year, the number of attacks on European soil did not.”
Published Thursday, the latest Terrorism Situation and Trend Report said member states recorded a total of 205 terror attacks that were foiled, failed, or took place in 2017 — 107 of which were reported by Britain.
The vast majority of the 68 deaths and 844 casualties from terror last year resulted from jihadist attacks, according to the research, which found the number of radical Islam-inspired plots to commit violence rose from 13 in 2016 to 33 in 2017.
Noting Islamist attackers display “a preference for attacking people, rather than other targets, to provoke an emotional response from the general public”, Europol warned that more lone wolf terror attacks of this kind are “very likely”.
Security threats related to ‘ethno-nationalism and separatism’ — a category which includes the Kurdish PKK and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) — formed the largest proportion of all reports last year, accounting for 137.
Researchers found that 24 of the attacks were carried out by “left-wing and anarchist terror groups”, for whom “the issue of migration remained central in [their] extremist agenda” whereby “Anarchists focused their activities on government migration policies and on the expression of solidarity with migrants.”
“Attacks committed by right-wing extremists have rarely been reported by Member States over the years and were therefore never prominently covered in the TE-SAT,” Europol said, warning: “The violent right-wing extremist spectrum is expanding, partly fuelled by fears of a perceived Islamisation of society and anxiety over migration.”
All five of the terror-related incidents in this category were reported by the UK, which included a number of arrests relating to the proscribed far-right National Action group.
Open borders-backing EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the report “leaves no doubt that the problem affects all of us equally, and we can only address it with collective action, unity of purpose, and above all trust”.
“Last year, while jihadist-inspired attacks increased, so did our preventive actions – with at least 11 attacks foiled. This is the strongest testament to the necessity of working together to defeat terrorism,” said the Commissioner, who has denied there is any link between terror and mass migration and claims that the “biggest threat” to the continent is “the rise of populism, nationalism and xenophobia”.
“Terrorism will continue to be a threat for the world, Europe, our citizens, our security and our way of life for the foreseeable future,” he added, echoing his remarks made earlier this year in Brussels, where he declared that Europeans will continue to be massacred in terror attacks on their own soil “for years to come”.
Avramopoulos, who has claimed the continent requires more than 70 million third world migrants, in December said that Europeans must accept mass migration from the world’s poorest countries as the “new norm”, insisting no part of the continent can remain “homogenous and migration-free”.